Sajid Majeed Mir, who managed the 26/11 terror attacks in India's financial capital Mumbai, has been sentenced to 15-and-a-half years in prison by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan's Lahore, reported news agency PTI.
Mir, who is presently serving his sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail, carries a bounty of $5 million, which had been declared by the United States for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks.
Mir's sentencing will likely be used by Pakistan to buttress its anti-terror commitments made before the FATF, a global terror financing watchdog. It may also be crucial in ensuring that the country is removed from FATF's "grey list".
According to the report, Mir, who was also fined Rs 4,20,000 in the terror financing case, was sentenced in "quiet manner" meaning that very few people were in the know of the outcome of an otherwise high-profile case.
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police, which often issues convictions of the suspects in such cases to the media, did not notify Mir's conviction.
Even his detention, which took place in April this year, was kept under wraps.
Mir, the 'Project Manager' of the Mumbai Attacks
Mir, infamously called the "project manager" of the Mumbai attacks, had reportedly visited India in 2005 using a fake passport with a fake name.
The FBI says that “Mir is wanted for his alleged involvement in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Beginning on November 26, 2008, and continuing through November 29, 2008, 10 LeT attackers carried out a series of coordinated attacks against multiple targets in Mumbai, including hotels, cafes, and a train station, killing approximately 170 people.
"Six Americans were killed during the three-day attacks. Mir allegedly served as the chief planner of the attacks, directing preparations and reconnaissance, and was one of the Pakistan-based controllers during the attacks. Additionally, Mir allegedly conspired to commit a terrorist attack against a newspaper and its employees in Denmark between 2008 and 2009," it said.
"Mir was indicted in the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Chicago, Illinois, on April 21, 2011, and was charged with conspiracy to injure the property of a foreign government; providing material support to terrorists; killing a citizen outside of the US and aiding and abetting; and bombing of places of public use. An arrest warrant was issued on April 22, 2011," it said.
Pakistan Under FATF Pressure
Pakistani authorities had in the past claimed he had died, but Western countries remained unconvinced and demanded proof of his death.
This issue became a major sticking point in FATF's assessment of Pakistan's progress on the action plan late last year. This was where things finally started moving in Mir's case, leading to his ‘arrest', Dawn reported on Saturday.
The FATF had placed Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering.
Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is instrumental in pushing Islamabad to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in Pakistan and using its territory to carry out attacks in India.
Last week, Paris-based FATF said Pakistan will continue to be on the "Grey List" of countries under increased monitoring.
It said Pakistan may be removed from the list after an on-site visit to verify the implementation of its reforms on countering terror-financing mechanisms.